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Ketamine vs Psilocybin – Spiritual Growth and Nature Connectedness

Written by: Nikola Straka and Mushroom Tao team

Back to all

Ketamine vs Psilocybin – Spiritual Growth and Nature Connectedness

Written by: Nikola Straka and Mushroom Tao team

Ketamine offers quick consciousness shifts; psilocybin fosters deep spiritual connections and nature appreciation. While ketamine suits clinical, immediate needs, psilocybin is chosen for profound, earthy spiritual journeys. Each has unique benefits based on personal preference for synthetic or natural experiences. Dive into the full article for an in-depth comparison and insights.

Spirituality involves believing in something greater than oneself — something beyond one's individual body and mind. It aims to answer questions about the meaning of life, the interconnectedness of people, the fundamental truths of the universe, and the mysteries of human existence.

Throughout history, many people have embarked on journeys of spiritual expansion. Sometimes they have used mind-altering substances to facilitate this profound process. In this article, we'll compare how ketamine and psilocybin effects spirituality.

"Ketamine and psilocybin: both catalysts for spiritual growth. But which holds the key to a more profound awakening?"

A spiritual worldview holds that existence extends beyond mere experiences. Rather than confining life to what can be felt through the senses, a person with a spiritual perspective acknowledges the presence of something more profound that connects all beings to one another and the universe.

Why is Spiritual Growth Important?

We live in a world where many people prefer to ignore the supernatural. Some of us are blind to the shifting realities in our world because our attention is overly focused on the material aspects of existence.

During the process of spiritual growth, a person lets go of false beliefs and assumptions while learning more about their true selves and the nature of the world. Unwholesome behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts are released, allowing the inner light to shine through. The goal of spiritual growth is to peel away illusions and uncover the true nature that resides beyond thought.

Brief Background: Ketamine vs Psilocybin

Ketamine and psilocybin are two different types of substances. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic with psychedelic properties. On the other hand, psilocybin is categorized as a tryptamine psychedelic. Both substances have the ability to elicit feelings of connection, insights, and mystical experiences, but their mechanisms of action and relation to spirituality differ.

Legality

Ketamine, which has long been used as a legal anesthetic in medical settings, is now being used off-label in clinics as a mental health treatment. On the contrary, psilocybin was made illegal for general use in the United States in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. Fortunately, laws regarding psilocybin are rapidly changing and it has been decriminalized in several cities and states.

History

Ketamine was developed in early 1960s by chemist Calvin Stevens to give a safer alternative to existing anesthesia methods. It has since been investigated for a variety of purposes, including its potential as a medicinal catalyst. On the other hand, psilocybin is found naturally within certain fungi all over the world. While traditionally used by indigneous people in ceremonial settings, psilocybin is starting to gain recognition in modern medicine.

Administration and Duration of Effects

Ketamine and psilocybin are administered in different ways. Ketamine can be administered via intramuscular injection, intravenous infusion, intranasally, or orally, whereas psilocybin is normally administered orally.

Psilocybin trips are longer than ketamine ones. Ketamine effects last approximately 40 minutes, whereas psilocybin effects generally last 4-6 hours. Furthermore, the effects of ketamine can be felt within 10 minutes of consumption, whereas psilocybin can take up to an hour to take effect.

Spiritual Potential of Ketamine

Originally developed as an anesthetic, Ketamine has garnered recognition for its transformative effects and potential therapeutic applications. This substance has the ability to generate a higher state of consciousness when administered in a controlled and monitored setting, opening the door to spiritual insights, mystical encounters, and self-discovery.

Ketamine experiences typically include a sense of connection to something greater than oneself, which can be a higher power, the universe, or the collective consciousness. These encounters can build a profound sense of interconnectedness, compassion, and togetherness, fostering a greater respect for life and a desire to make positive changes in the world.

Spiritual Potential of Psilocybin

Recent research affirms long-standing anecdotal evidence that magic mushrooms have a profound spiritual effect on people. In the study, which administered 35 medium-high psilocybin doses to 28 healthy volunteers, around one-third of subjects experienced a "complete" mystical experience after taking psilocybin, with half describing the encounter as the single most spiritually significant occurrence in their life.

Individuals who have psychedelic experiences are likely to tap into spiritual dimensions, which gives them access to unconscious and subconscious parts of their minds and even the psyches of other beings.

Psilocybin has the ability to generate experiences that give journeyers a glimpse of indigenous and shamanic cultures. The rituals and ways of life within cultures that use psilocybin and other psychedelics can open people's minds to more expansive spiritual perspectives.

Scientific Point of View

According to research from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Imperial College London, psilocybin-assisted therapy can bring about profound and long-lasting positive transformations in individuals, fostering enhanced well-being, increased life satisfaction, and spiritual growth.

Magic mushrooms have the capacity to dissolve the sense of self, resulting in experiences of "ego death" or "ego dissolution." These experiences enable people to transcend their limiting perceptions and connect with an expanded global consciousness. In this state, they may enjoy a feeling of connection and interconnectedness with all living beings, as well as a profound insights into universal truths.

Integration

The spiritual awakening caused by psilocybin mushrooms extends beyond the psychedelic trip itself. Integrating one's learnings into everyday life is essential.

Magic mushrooms have shown promising results in treating illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and addiction by helping people become aware of and process suppresed traumas. Meditation, writing, therapy, and community support are all useful methods for grounding transformative experiences and converting them into long-term good changes.

Psychedelics and Connection to Nature

The research carried out by the Imperial College of London indicates that people who have experiences with classic psychedelic substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, DMT, ayahuasca, and mescaline develop a stronger connection and appreciation for nature. This increased affinity for nature also leads to a general sense of psychological well-being.

The study analyzed data from 654 people before and after their psychedelic experiences and asked them if they agreed with statements like:

- 'My ideal vacation spot would be a remote, wilderness area.'
- 'My relationship to nature is an important part of who I am.'
- 'I feel very connected to all living things and the earth' after using a psychedelic.'

Based on the reactions, the researchers hypothesized that participants were experiencing a "positive-feedback-like effect," in which the use of psychedelics "leads individuals to subsequently seek more exposure to nature," reinforcing their connections with the natural world.

Ketamine vs Psilocybin Nature Connectedness

At the Beyond Psychedelics 2016 conference, Dr. David Luke, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Greenwich, and his associates surveyed transpersonal nature encounter experiences after taking psychedelics. The survey, which yielded 150 completed questionnaires, focused on the question: "How have your psychedelic experiences changed how much you interact with nature?"

Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents reported either maintaining or increasing their engagement with nature post-psychedelic experience. Notably, two-thirds of participants expressed a heightened concern for the environment after their psychedelic journey.

The survey also highlighted distinctions between substances. Respondants taking psilocybin mushrooms saw the greatest shifts in perspective with 47% reporting an increased connection and 27% reporting heightened concern after psilocybin journeys.

In contrast, ketamine induces a different response. Out of the ten substances in the survey, ketamine was the only one for which more individuals reported a decrease in both connection and concern for nature. This outcome aligns with expectations, given ketamine's dissociative anesthetic properties which induces a sense of detachment that contrasts with the nature-affirming effects observed with other substances.

Another online study, involving 1487 participants from the general population, also reveals that people who have past experiences with classic psychedelics (such as psilocybin, mescaline, and LSD) have significantly increased nature-relatedness and pro-environmental behaviors. The study finds that people with a history of classic psychedelic use were more likely to engage in self-reported pro-environmental behaviors because psychedelics tend to increase one's identification and connectedness with nature.

Final Thoughts

Ketamine and psilocybin have a unique mechanisms of action and can produce different types of spiritual experiences. It becomes evident that the choice between the two substances is personal and depends on factors such as availability, time constraints, and intentions.

Psilocybin stands as a testament to the craftsmanship of Mother Nature, whereas ketamine is a human creation originated in labratories. While some are drawn to this synthetic substance because it is legal, widely available, and effective in short-term treatment of depression and anxiety, many of those who try ketamine soon find themselves compelled by the spiritual potency of psilocybin.

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